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Debian Release Mgr. Proposes Dropping Some Archs 377

Posted by timothy
from the notion-that-could-become-an-idea-and-maybe-a-concept dept.
smerdyakov writes "In this story posted by Andrew Orlowski of the Register Debian Release manager Steve Langasek has announced that support will be dropped for all but four computer architectures. Among the reasons cited for doing this are improving testing coordination, 'a more limber release process' and ultimately a ('hopefully') shorter release cyle. The main architectures to survive will be Intel x86, AMD64, PowerPC and IA-64." Actually, the story says clearly that this is only a proposal at this point, but it's definitely something to watch.
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Debian Release Mgr. Proposes Dropping Some Archs

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  • The hell? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lisandro (799651) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:09PM (#11937313)
    Is it April the 1st already?
    • by temojen (678985) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:32PM (#11937623) Journal
      On April 1st NetBSD would be the one saying they'll only support 4 architectures.
    • Re:The hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:37PM (#11937687)

      THANK THE LORD!

      Someone at Debian is finally getting a fucking clue. I've been telling stupid Debian zealots this for years... your distro is dying because everything has to move in lockstep. Take a look at the Linux kernel -- it's x86, and yet there are loads of ports which move at their own speed. Debian is a slug of a distro because it moves at the speed of the absolutely *LEAST* developed port. Split them off focus on the x86 distro... and let the other catch up or die off. Debian is smothering... and all the puffed up insane zealotry about how other platforms are supported just as well as x86 is worthless if your distro is 5 years out of date.

      • by hummassa (157160) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:45PM (#11937773) Homepage Journal
        Someone at Debian is finally getting a fucking clue. I've been telling stupid Debian zealots this for years... your distro is dying because everything has to move in lockstep.
        Interesting, from where I am it seems to be pretty much alive, thank you.
        Take a look at the Linux kernel -- it's x86, and yet there are loads of ports which move at their own speed. Debian is a slug of a distro because it moves at the speed of the absolutely *LEAST* developed port.
        There is always sid.
        Split them off focus on the x86 distro... and let the other catch up or die off.
        And then the only thing that sets Debian apart from the other distros (quality, determined by lots of portability issues spotted, bad code spotted this way, lots of different archs using the same distro, etc. will be dead. People will just use Ubuntu, if they want to use something x86-ppc only.
        Debian is smothering... and all the puffed up insane zealotry about how other platforms are supported just as well as x86 is worthless if your distro is 5 years out of date.
        Interesting, I run Debian, with kde 3.4 over kernel 2.6.10 and my distro does not feel 5 years out of date.
        • by Usquebaugh (230216) on Monday March 14, 2005 @07:31PM (#11938290)
          >> Interesting, I run Debian, with kde 3.4 over
          >> kernel 2.6.10 and my distro does not feel 5 years
          >> out of date.

          I would guess you're not running stable or testing but unstable. I run testing and it's too far behind the idea of release early and often. I'll probably go to unstable this evening.

          Debian takes too long to do releases. It's not NetBSD it should change to a tiered release structure. The four mentioned are a good idea.

          In short the time frame between Debian releases is indefensible, it takes to long.
        • by noahm (4459) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @12:11AM (#11940448) Homepage Journal
          Interesting, I run Debian, with kde 3.4 over kernel 2.6.10 and my distro does not feel 5 years out of date.

          Sure, you run sid. You know what that means? It means that this proposal won't affect you at all. (additionally, I'm sure you run x86, along with what, 98% of all other debian users?)

          The thing is, you're the type of user who doesn't need predictable release cycles. You can get by on the bleeding edge and run software for which a new package release may be uploaded on any given day.

          A lot of Debian users are in very different positions. I, for example, run Debian in an enterprise environment, with literally hundreds of servers and workstations. woody is simply not an option in this environment. Hardware support (both kernel and user space) is dreadfully lacking, and we'd have to backport most of the software we use every day anyway. We'd end up running something so bastardized that we'd no longer see many of the benefits of running Debian at all. So we were forced to go with something more current. We chose sarge, with the understanding that we'd have to be responsible for the security of our systems, with little help from Debian. But of course, there are problems there, too. Sarge changes every day. A machine installed today may look nothing like a machine installed tomorrow. Additionally, we simply have no way of knowing when sarge will be released. The saying within Debian has always been "we'll release when it's ready", but of course, there's never a published metric for readiness, so there's simply no way of knowing when that will be.

          Basically, right now, Debian really doesn't have a good release for enterprise users. That really sucks, since IMHO Debian provides a software infrastructure that makes it really appealing for large scale deployments. I really hope this new proposal is a step toward a shorter and more predictable release cycle!

          noah

          (Debian developer, sysadmin, and user since 1997)

          • by Kent Recal (714863) on Tuesday March 15, 2005 @04:16AM (#11941387)
            A machine installed today may look nothing like a machine installed tomorrow.

            You may want to take a look at FAI (Fully Automatic Installation - google will find it). We've been using it quite successfully for that kind of maintenance.

            You basically set up a local debian mirror (snapshot of the real tree) and use it to deploy your machines (FAI does it great) and as only apt-source for them. Whenever it's time to update a pkg you test it, then just drop it to your mirror where the clients can pick it up via apt-get upgrade.
            • You may want to take a look at FAI (Fully Automatic Installation - google will find it). We've been using it quite successfully for that kind of maintenance.

              We already use FAI. It has installed over 200 hosts for us. It's a nice system, and makes enterprise deployment possible (doing several hundred stand-alone installs is simply unreasonable, IMHO), but it doesn't eliminate any of the problems with Debian releases. Maintaining local snapshots of sarge is somewhat helpful, but then you're awfully close

      • Re:The hell? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Lisandro (799651) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:49PM (#11937819)
        It's a good point, but then again, Debian was always the NetBSD of Linux: it ran on everything and it ran well - there's a reason for them to be so anal about the "stable" branch, it really is stable. You can always get the unstable one (which is damn fine in my experience), or move to some apt-based distro if you want to be on the bleeding edge of things.

        For guys mantaining stuff like Sparc servers or developing on ARM it was a great choice.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:11PM (#11937333)
    "Affected Admins Propose Dropping Debian"
  • by thepotoo (829391) <thepotoospam@nOspam.yahoo.com> on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:11PM (#11937344)
    Seeing as they're the major systems out there. But IA-64? I've barely heard of that, and TFA says Microsoft dropped XP for that. Can anyone elaborate as to why this one was kept?
    • by Florian Weimer (88405) <fw@deneb.enyo.de> on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:18PM (#11937448) Homepage
      Seeing as they're the major systems out there. But IA-64? I've barely heard of that, and TFA says Microsoft dropped XP for that. Can anyone elaborate as to why this one was kept?

      For IA64, kernel, toolchain and libc are maintained by upstream, and Debian itself has sufficient IA64 know-how, as well. That's why it's practical to keep it.
      • If I'm not mistaken I've also heard that there are a good number of servers that use this architecture, which may be another reason, in addition to the two already mentioned. If this is the case, though, I wonder why Sparc is being dropped. It seems like a pretty widely used platform to me, but I may have a bias, since my school's CS department uses Sparcs.
    • " Seeing as they're the major systems out there. But IA-64? I've barely heard of that, and TFA says Microsoft dropped XP for that. Can anyone elaborate as to why this one was kept?"

      I was thinking along the same lines. Heck, I'd think that sparc's are more prevalent out there than the IA-64....

    • What about ARM ? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:24PM (#11937528)
      By the end of this year, the majority of Linux systems will be cell phones and settop boxes/ digital TV etc running on ARM and PowerPC architectures .... not x86. I would have thought that keeping ARM would be a GoodThing.

      Perhaps Debian isn't trying to address the embedded segment.

      • Re:What about ARM ? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by misleb (129952) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:41PM (#11937732)
        Perhaps Debian isn't trying to address the embedded segment.

        Consider that a minimum Debian installation is over 100MB. Debian is definitly not aimed at embedded systems. Never was.

        -matthew

        • by selfabuse (681350)
          but it sure runs great on a Zaurus w/ a microdrive or a big SD card. Also, a lot of the software that has been ported to the Zaurus has been done by modifying the debian ARM versions. Losing support in Debian for upcoming versions would put a big hamper on porting new software to the Zaurus.
        • Most of the smaller distros out there are really Debian with a bunch of stuff stripped out and replaced with Busybox and whatever tools make sense for the target environment (security, system repair, media players, etc.) A few of them are more minimal roll-your-owns, and the embedded world also has the uCLinux crowd and vendors like MonteVista, but there's a huge amount of Debian usage in the small/medium appliance world.
    • If the IA-64 is in the top 4 platforms using Debian then there is your answer.
  • nooooooo (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:11PM (#11937345)
    so i won't have debian in my toaster????

    well, I can still be using NetBSD. Of course the toaster runs it!
    • so i won't have debian in my toaster????

      If by toaster you mean a 3GHz x86 CPU, which gets hot enough to almost be a toaster, then you're in luck.

  • Dropping ARM??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:12PM (#11937359) Homepage Journal
    That might really hurt embedded developers. Seems like embedded users would be far more likely to use Deb than IA-64 users.
    • Re:Dropping ARM??? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gl4ss (559668)
      not that likely to use a full deb.

      and there's barely any arm desktops/servers.

    • Re:Dropping ARM??? (Score:5, Informative)

      by pavon (30274) on Monday March 14, 2005 @07:42PM (#11938405)
      Actually, they didn't make a decision to cut or keep any particular distros, contrary to how the summary makes it sound. The actual email [debian.org] is worth reading.

      The way I understood it was that each architecture would continue to be included in unstable, but when time came to release stable, the architectures that were not up to snuff would not be included in stable. In other words, they are not going to hold off on releasing stable for the architectures that are ready just because some other, less actively devloped ones are not. This seems fair. If someone wants their favorite architecture to be included in the next stable release then they can volenteer to get it up to stable quality, or commit themselves to maintaining it (security patches) after it is released. Otherwise they can just keep using the unstable. This is better than forcing everyone to use unstable, by holding debian back from releasing stable on a timely basis.

      The second set of requirements (for SCC) also make sense. If you have less than 50 users, or cannot support the infrastructure needed make mirrors, there is no reason that all the ftpmasters should have to mirror a full branch of code for you - it is overkill. Those 50 people can get together set up their own apt-get repository for their binary packages.

      There are several things that I did not like about this plan however, like the non-merit-based requirement, of requiring a machine to be purchasable new. If there are people that are willing to do the work, who cares if the machine is in production or not.

      I also don't like the fact that there is no official option for the less active arch's to make stable releases uncoupled from the main stable timescale. Suppose that a minor arch, has enough support to do a stable release every 3 years compared to the x86's 18 month cycle. Choosing to target every other stable release won't work because while there is twice as much time between releases the bottleneck is the time between feature freeze and release, and that will still be determined by the x86 team's (faster) schedule. Furthermore, all the stable releases for all the architectures really should have the same package versions. This will save effort supporting the releases in the future (security patches etc), and keep user confusion down to a minimum. One possible solution would be if they kept the requirements listed, but did not require them to be met at the same time as the x86 branch - let the architectures enter stable when they are ready, with a time limit of say 2 or 3 release cycles of the x86 branch.

      In general, requiring all the architectures to walk in lockstep is a real problem that debian needs to fix, but they should do so in a manner that allows the less active architectures to continue to have stable releases at their own pace, while not holding back the x86 line.

    • well... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Cryptnotic (154382) * on Monday March 14, 2005 @07:54PM (#11938538) Homepage
      As an embedded linux developer (who has worked on both ARM and MIPS), I can tell you that for a production, shipping system, it doesn't matter. You'll almost always end up rolling together your own thing. However, when a vendor (e.g. Cirrus Logic) has an evaluation board (e.g., EDB9315) that comes with a hard drive with Debian loaded on it and you can see that X11 works with the framebuffer driver and USB keyboards and mice work and network apps work, it's very impressive. Most imporantly though it verifies that the drivers (framebuffer, usb, ide, serial, network, pcmcia, CF, et cetera) are implemented in a standard way and will work with "off the shelf" linux apps. This makes things amazingly easier than with other companies whose linux ports are not as complete or functional. And if you're a small company doing an embedded Linux project, it's much better to go with a System-on-Chip processor from a vendor that provides a good Linux port and good Linux drivers than it is to either do your own or write your own drivers.

      However, it is sometimes very useful to use a full system like this to do native compiles of your applications (instead of cross-compiling) and native debugging. Of course, when you move to your custom hardware, you usually have to drop all that nice stuff.

      (By the way, I am really a big fan of the Cirrus Logic 93xx series system-on-chip processors. After working on two other ARM SoC systems and one MIPS system, the Cirrus 9315 was by far the best supported.)
  • Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Pflipp (130638) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:12PM (#11937361)
    ...there goes my handy Sparc server...
  • About time (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:12PM (#11937362)
    Thanks a lot! This was about time, or else we would never get a new stable release. Lets just hope thats it gets further then just beeing an proposal...
  • When the altruistic geeks of open source talk of no longer supporting a processor, you know things have got to be bad. Sun needs help... now!!!

    Man, when will people learn that one cannot beat Intel when it comes to R&D and their blitzkreg-like manufacturering of processors?
  • by theolein (316044) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:14PM (#11937383) Journal
    I mean, debian is the only distro that supports all the exotic architectures. If debian only supports the main architectures in futre, what then will the difference be between them and SuSE, Mandrake, Ubuntu and Gentoo for that matter?
  • by Jon Abbott (723) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:14PM (#11937386) Homepage
    In other news, the NetBSD team announced that they have successfully ported NetBSD to the abacus...
    • by Thud457 (234763) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:18PM (#11937440) Homepage Journal
      Aren't porting and actively supporting two different things?
  • Damn... (Score:4, Funny)

    by nick-less (307628) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:14PM (#11937387)
    I just managed to find some spare time to finish my Debian m68k install on my fellow Amiga 1000 and now they're going to drop support? Argh...
  • by Look KG486 (867105) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:15PM (#11937390) Homepage Journal
    Can't wait to get my hands on the new, stable 2.2 kernel!

    Oh, wait...
  • Older Hardware (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nairnr (314138) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:17PM (#11937420)
    My basement has become a repository for some older machines. I had chosen debian for a couple, noticeably a HP-PA machine, and my I had a few Sparc 2, IPX boxes. Debian was my distro of choice because they still supported these machines. My Alpha is running an older version of RedHat when it was still supported.

    So the question becomes, who will bother supporting non-mainstream hardware? They are still functional machines for me...

    • OpenBSD [openbsd.org] runs just fine on older sparc hardware. NetBSD [netbsd.org] too
    • "So the question becomes, who will bother supporting non-mainstream hardware? They are still functional machines for me..."

      Sweet christ...move out of mom's basement and learn what it is like to kiss a girl. There is ZERO reason to keep these ancient systems running. Recycle the things or donate them to a museum.
      • Re:Older Hardware (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Come on, stop kissing girls for a minute and realize that there is certain historical value to keeping running the variety of quality hardware that was available in the 1980's. Various kinds of historical preservation is seen as valuable in other fields culture, why not also in computers?
    • Well, you're always free to fork and do it yourself. Why should people be expending effort because you're a cheap bastard?
  • by caryw (131578) <carywiedemann AT gmail DOT com> on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:17PM (#11937423) Homepage
    While Linux is well known for being exteremly cross-platform, 99.9% of installs will be on one of those four architectures. It would make sense to concentrate solely on those four rather than adding support for every Amiga and 68XXX setup out there. Especially now with Debian becoming a very strong player in the linux server community (now that RedHat is concentrating mainly on paid contracts and has allowed Fedora Core to become bulky and buggy.)

    Besides, if you really want to run *nix on your Atari go download NetBSD [netbsd.org].
    - Cary
    --Fairfax Underground [fairfaxunderground.com]: Where Fairfax County comes out to play
  • by abrotman (323016) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:17PM (#11937433)
    Original email [debian.org]

    They seem to imply it is a proposal to drop the actual releasing after sarge .. They will still have support for the other architectures, but seem to imply it must meet certain criteria to be considered for release.

    IMHO: requiring a level of 98% is too high and only releasing if you can still buy is rediculous. Debian still mostly compiles for 386(on x86) and it's hard to buy a 386 these days.
  • by MurkyWater (866956) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:18PM (#11937442)
    As the article mentions there's been a lot of debate since the proposal was posted. I don't think that it is a completely unreasonable proposal. From what I've seen, there is too much time between releases, and this does seem as if it would speed things up a little, due to the lower amount of testing necessary.

    I'm not sure how developers and users of the possible unsupported architectures would feel. I'd imagine that they would be pretty upset. There's no reason why they couldn't continue working on their respective platforms on their own, and have whatever release cycle they would like. I've seen an i586 Debian project, but I don't know how successful it is. I also know Slackware recently picked up S/390 support, and Gentoo has a wide range of architectures that it supports. Switching flavors always seems like another possible option.

    • Slackware has also had, and dropped, support for Alpha and Sparc. Maintaining a distribution for different architectures is a lot of (expensive/unpaid) work.

      I think the best way to handle this is to have a few supported architectures and let maintainers port to the rest. That way the release schedules of the most important platforms won't be held back, which I believe is a major problem for Debian today.

    • Most of us who use strange architectures really won't be that terribly effected. I have an Alpha box, SPARC boxen, and some MIPS hardware, etc, so I guess I qualify. (I've never actually run Linux on the MIPS hardware, though)

      Most of the folks using SPARC Linux, like me, use older boxes. They work now, and there isn't a huge number of new systems being sold with the expectation of running Linux. Most of the new SPARC hardware will be running Solaris. Since my Ultra1's work just fine under debian, I do
  • IA64? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bstadil (7110) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:18PM (#11937443) Homepage
    Why not let HP and Intel carry the support banner for IA86.

    The few machines sold hardly matters. HP 'claims" they will sppnd $3B on IA64 over next 5 years surely they can afford to pay for Linux on this dud of a processor.

    Or better still pay the Debian guys

  • This is not final (Score:5, Informative)

    by alfino (173081) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:18PM (#11937451)
    As an active Debian developer, I simply want to state: this is anything but final and not at all decided. I am only one of many developers against the proposed scheme, and especially against the way in which the scheme was devised -- in a closed meeting with only a few select members, and completely without soliciting any input from the community.

    In the long run, Debian may well have to concentrate more on some architectures than others, but a radical step such as the one proposed will probably not fly well with the community. Since our users are our top priority, you can expect many more emails on the topic before anything will happen.
    • Re:This is not final (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Psiren (6145)
      In the long run, Debian may well have to concentrate more on some architectures than others, but a radical step such as the one proposed will probably not fly well with the community. Since our users are our top priority, you can expect many more emails on the topic before anything will happen.

      As a long time Debian user, I'm all for it, but that's probably because I'm only interested in x86 and AMD64. I think having multiple arch's is a great idea in principle, and I'm not overly keen on the idea of stomp
    • by Ulric (531205) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:55PM (#11937879) Homepage
      I'm not a Debian user, but I understand that the long release cycles are viewed as a problem by those who are. Do you think it will be possible to solve that problem without dropping a few architectures, and if so, how?

      I understand that Gentoo supports several architectures, including several (alpha, sparc) that would not be supported with this scheme. How come they don't seem to have a problem getting releases out the door? (You may not have more of a clue than I do, but perhaps someone else does.)

  • Debian.. PFHT.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:19PM (#11937457)
    Well, I'm sure Debian has their reasons, but I suspect they're suffering due to some of their fans dropping it for other distros. Late releases, stupid politics and aged packages isn't doing this distro any justice.

    As for their decision to drop SPARC, good.. I ran Debian on my SPARC boxes for a few years, and it was garbage. Slow, clumsy and at times a few bad packages got in causing problems. Debian for SPARC made Solaris look like a rocket ship.

    For all you SPARC users, switch to Gentoo (Running it and loving it) or support one of the other SPARC distros like Splack (Slackware-based SPARC distro).
    • Re:Debian.. PFHT.. (Score:3, Informative)

      by Phleg (523632)

      Well, I'm sure Debian has their reasons, but I suspect they're suffering due to some of their fans dropping it for other distros. Late releases, stupid politics and aged packages isn't doing this distro any justice.

      Debian doesn't suffer from lack of users by any stretch of the imagination. Contrary to what you see on Slashdot, most Debian users understand that the delays going into Sarge and the heated discussions about GFDL licenses are painful but necessary.

      • Re:Debian.. PFHT.. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kfg (145172)
        "Debian doesn't suffer from lack of users by any stretch of the imagination."

        Mostly because "suffering due to some of their fans dropping if for other distros" is an undefined concept in relation to Debian, in the mathematical sense.

        But people will persist in using market driven concepts with regard to non-market driven distros, and Linux in general, won't they?

        A lack of developers would be a real problem, but other than submitting bugs the number of users is simply irrelevant to the Debian development p
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:21PM (#11937478)
    It's called Ubuntu.
  • drop me too! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by r00t (33219) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:21PM (#11937485) Journal
    PowerPC is stuck with a crappy old pre-NPTL glibc
    because of the feature freeze. Making PowerPC be
    unofficial would allow this to get fixed.

    Heck, drop every port but x86. It's not nice how
    the x86 port drags around the others by the
    release cycle.
    • drop every port but x86 I'm trying to find the (insightful) humour in this...I hope it's a joke...
      • Re:drop me too! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by r00t (33219) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:39PM (#11937716) Journal
        It's not a joke. Dropping a port from "official"
        status means that the port is free to ignore the
        normal release cycle. The normal release cycle is,
        predictably, controlled by the x86 majority.

        Once free of such tyranny, the non-x86 ports can
        fix things without concern for x86 releases.

        I'm a Debian user with PowerPC, and I'd love to
        have a modern glibc. The upcoming release isn't
        worth much on PowerPC right now, because it's still
        using the old pre-NPTL LinuxThreads hack.
  • Forks? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by marsjays (473206)
    Will dropping support for other than the four major platforms (if it's done) split the Debian developers into two or more groups, one developing Debian for the major platforms and the other(s) specializing on some other platform, for example ARM?
  • by El_Muerte_TDS (592157) <elmuerte@REDHATd ... com minus distro> on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:23PM (#11937514) Homepage
    is that only those 4 archs will be actively supported in Debian _releases_. Other architectures will still exist and maintained but not be included in the shifts from unstable->testing->stable.

    If it's that it might be a good things, granting the more popular(?) architectures a smaller turnaround time for stable releases.

    Or maybe hell freezes over.
  • Damn. (Score:5, Funny)

    by gt_swagger (799065) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:30PM (#11937606) Homepage
    So much for running Linux on Bubba the Big Mouth Bass. That was my dedicated firewall too!
  • IA64?!? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Yonder Way (603108) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:31PM (#11937609)
    What thought process led to IA64 being favored over the various flavors of sparc?!? It probably involved a lot of vodka.
  • by Mustang Matt (133426) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:37PM (#11937686)
    I've never understood why the kernel can't be seperated from the distribution. If all applications were written on top of a platform like java or php or whatever, couldn't the kernel come from anywhere and if there was support for the application platform apps would run?
    • My understanding is that it isn't so much the kernel (although that's certainly an issue) as the userspace applications. For example, going from 32 to 64 bits breaks a lot of badly-written software, as does that annoyingly still-present issue of endianness. Debian currently treats all platforms as equal, meaning that a problem compiling X.org on some weird 48-bit middle-endian system used by 15 people can delay including that package on x86 and x64 as well.

      If everything was well-written and accounted for differing word lengths, byte orders, etc. then we wouldn't be having this conversation. Unfortunately, that's not the case. On the plus side, Debian's dedication to platform equality means that a lot of bugs get exposed (and fixed) that no one would ever know about if the world only ran x86. This is a good thing for everyone, even those where that software already worked as expected.

  • by Mr.Progressive (812475) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:39PM (#11937706)
    I first read that as "Debian Release Mgr. Proposes Dropping Some Acid"
  • Why keep IA-64? (Score:5, Informative)

    by James Youngman (3732) <(gro.ung) (ta) (yaj)> on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:46PM (#11937782) Homepage
    Why bother keeping IA-64? Debian has more alpha users than ia64. There are more SPARC users. Heck, there are even more HPPA users than ia64 users. All the details are available at the Debian Popularity Contest [debian.org].
  • misleading (Score:5, Informative)

    by macshit (157376) * <.miles. .at. .gnu.org.> on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:51PM (#11937843) Homepage
    The phrase "dropping support" is misleading. They're dropping the "stable" release for these archs. They are moved into a category called "second class citizen" architectures.

    "unstable" -- which is what hacker-type individuals tend to run anyway (and is both much more up-to-date and not particularly unstable) -- will continue for all. As most of the affected archs fall into the "mostly for hackers" category, this change should have little real impact. I suppose the exception might be the sparc.

    The benefit of all this is (besides, maybe, faster releases) that they have a plan for adding new scc archs easily.

    [I think the "scc" archs will also not use the Debian mirror network, but probably don't have enough users to receive any real benefit from it either.]
  • by Poldark (867737) on Monday March 14, 2005 @06:56PM (#11937889)
    Debian will continue supporting the rest of the architectures... but only in the unstable tree.

    All the users running rare platforms can continue using debian, and upgrading their distribution, but they won't have a stable release.

    I think this is the way to go...
  • Embed Me (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday March 14, 2005 @07:35PM (#11938324) Homepage Journal
    Debian runs pretty well as the Familiar distro for iPaqs, on the ARM platform. It's that kind of cross-platform support that makes Linux so interesting, and keeps the embedded platforms such exciting targets for development: recompile apps developed by such a large, general-purpose community. Embedded apps are a much more exciting platform for developers, because of the huger market and wide-open opportunities as it gets started. Debian, don't blow it!
    • Re:Embed Me (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Maljin Jolt (746064)
      Latest Familiar 0.8.1 [handhelds.org] is based on OpenEmbedded [openembedded.org]. No more need for Debian/Arm.
  • by gb006k (606815) on Monday March 14, 2005 @08:12PM (#11938710)

    Hey, if you guys would just read the actual announcement from Steve: http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2005 /03/msg00012.html [debian.org]

    You would see that support is NOT being dropped. Rather, the proposal just allows the common architectures to be released before the uncommon ones are fully tested. This seems like an excellent plan, rather than having to wait forever for Debian releases.

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